For those of you who are infatuated with seafood or at least indulge in a tasty fish dish every once in a while, here’s a species you might want to add to your checklist of delicacies: the silver or white Pomfret (Pampus argenteus). Inconspicuous in appearance, these rather small and bony Perciformes (largest order of vertebrates) belong to the family Stromateidae (from the Greek stromatos = bedspread). This butterfish is characterized by a very flat body, a forked tail fin, a continuous dorsal fin and along pectoral fins, and is found throughout the coastal marine waters of the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. A recent visit to the fish market in Udupi proved to be an excellent idea – we payed our respects to four Vawall, as these fish are called in parts of southern India, and later turned them into a savoury supper accompanied by rice and a tomato-onion ratatouille.
Photographs by: Paula Mittermayer